Sarawak State Library from Malaysia is one of the winners of the 2022 UNESCO International Literacy Prize

Literacy Prize 2022 laureates - Malaysia

Sarawak State Library is awarded the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy for its Programme ‘’People Accessible Network for Digital Empowerment & Inclusivity (PANDei)’.

Established in 2000, the Sarawak State Library is one of the players appointed by the Sarawak Government in Malaysia to enhance the competency and readiness of all communities in the State to embrace the digital economy. Since its installment, the Library has been working to establish a digital-ready community, by enhancing digital skills and competencies and promoting inclusive digital participation.

The programme has been developed in the context of the Sarawak government’s digital economy initiatives, in collaboration with Sarawak Multimedia Authority. It consists in a free online learning course, available through the portal, that promotes digital inclusivity awareness and skills among Sarawakians in Malaysia. The programme is designed to allow participants to acquire skills in the use of information communication technology (ICT), improving their digital literacy and creating greater awareness on the importance of gaining knowledge and on lifelong learning.

The programme is taking place in several literacy learning spaces via e-Learning platforms such as Digital Community Centre Public Libraries and, from 2018 and 2022, 81 057 learners benefitted from it.

PANDei, by offering a more convenient, consistent and interactive way to learn, was able  to promote digital inclusivity and change the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people through literacy, reaching those who need the most and are most at risk of being left behind.

Indeed, through the module, local communities acquire skills that will enable them to understand how to use mobile devices in their daily activities as well as be empowered to become ‘digital citizens’ being capable not only of navigating the Internet and social media, but also of using technology positively and effectively.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, while closed, the library continued to provide online services and programmes, and developed a number of new initiatives, mainly harnessing social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouYube, Google Meets, and Zoom Meets. In the words of Mr. Hamid Bugo, Chairman and Mr Edison Anak Ricket, Head of Library Services Division, “the post-COVID ‘new normal’ will see the increase in speed, device and impacting existing library services, programme and activities’’.

In the future, the library hopes to become a ‘platform’ that can be used also by other ministries, to develop new e-learning courses such as online courses for tourism but also entrepreneurial courses for women, social development programs, online business to name a few.